Humble Rabada vows to keep working hard


Kagiso Rabada says he owes his meteoric rise to those closest to him after sweeping the board in record fashion at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards banquet on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old won six accolades in total – the main prize of South African Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year, ODI Cricketer of the Year, SA Players' Player of the Year, SA Fans Player of the Year and bowling the RAM delivery of the Year to England's Jason Roy in the T20 International at the Wanderers Stadium.

The fast bowler said: "I have to thank my family because they've been unbelievable for me. They're the ones that shaped me to be the person I am today and without them I wouldn't be where I am. I have no doubt about it.

"My friends, the ones that have been there for me and they know who they are, friends that are there for the right reasons and friends that I will definitely be lifetime friends with, I am grateful for their support.

"To my team-mates as well, the culture’s really good in the team. They've welcomed me so well and that has allowed me to really let loose. That’s very encouraging because it’s not all on you.

"There's so many coaches that have really helped me and thank you to them as well."

Rabada is the first player to win six individual awards – both AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla had previously won five – and is by far the youngest to have won South African cricket's premier accolade.

The other eight players to have received CSA's most prestigious Player of the Year award are Jacques Kallis (2004 and 2011), Makhaya Ntini (2005 and 2006), Hashim Amla (2010 and 2013) and AB de Villiers (2014 and 2015) who have all won the award twice with the other previous winners being Shaun Pollock (2007), Dale Steyn (2008), Graeme Smith (2009), and Vernon Philander (2012).

Rabada's international statistics are extremely impressive. Apart from taking 24 wickets in only six Test matches at an average of 24.70 with a strike rate of 39.6, he took 37 wickets in 20 ODIs at an average of 21.45 with an economy rate of 4.78 and a strike rate of 26.9. He also took 21 wickets in 13 T20Is.

He said he hoped to inspire others to follow in his footsteps.

Rabada continued: "When I was young, the players I am currently playing with now inspired me to do the things I am doing today. A lot of people have done so many great things and when that happens, it has the power to inspire.

"I definitely think that whoever looks up to me will feel inspired."

Despite being the star of the show at the Sandton Convention Centre, Rabada remained humble in all the glory.

"I don't know (how I stay humble), I think it's who I am," he explained. "I feel there's more to life than cricket, although cricket is a passion of mine.

"It's just a whole lot of role models as well, people that have done great things and are well respected. They are quite reserved and have still done very well too.

"But I think I've always been like this, maybe it’s the way I was brought up, but it's just the way I am."